Tag Archives: Launceston

A day out in Deloraine

The night we arrived in Launceston I posted to a thread on the Chat 10 Looks 3 FB group and asked if anyone might be able to give me a lift to the last day of the Tasmania Craft Fair in Deloraine the next morning. I had not been able to find any way to get there using public transport. Wonder of wonders, a lovely woman showed up near the boat at 9am and welcomed myself and the Smalls into her car. The upside of social media!

Waiting for our ride.
Waiting for our ride and jumping.

We chatted at each other all the way to Deloraine while the Smalls listened to an audiobook in the back seat and oohed and ahhhed at this unfamiliar mode of travel. It turns out she is a church minister, who doesn’t mind being a bit sweary. I could help myself and accidentally said ‘goddamnit’ on several occasions, but she was unfazed. It didn’t take us long to realise that, of course, she knew M from his days in Launceston and the organisation he worked for at that time. (And his band.) I told her that this meant she had to come on to the boat when she dropped us off.

We parted in the carpark of the bowling club and went our separate ways. The Smalls and I found that there were buses running between all of the venues every ten minutes. The organisation was phenomenal. It all worked so well!!



Up the Tamar River

In my head, the journey from George Town to Launceston takes days and days. I am astonished and disbelieving when M tells me we can make it there in one day. What the? Last time it took us a week or two… He tells me that last time we noodled our way upriver like the newbies we were – relishing the ability to stop for a night or two wherever took our fancy. And that’s correct – it was a lovely way to traverse the river – but this time? This time there are Very Strong Winds predicted and wherever we end up is where we’re going to have to stay for at least four days, and so we aim for Launceston.

Beauty Point and tugboat. Not going anywhere. Launceston.
I took the same photo three years ago. Nothing’s changed.

To be honest, it’s a bit of a boring journey – it takes all day, and toward the end M’s patience is thinning. I steer a little bit, but he does the majority. As we get nearer to the city I am (again) struck by deja vu; the wind is already coming up and M goes through a few different scenarios about pulling up to the jetty. I can tell he’s fidgety about how it might go. This is what happened last time.

The guy who owns the pontoons remembered us when we called him and has been very kind – he allows us to stay on the pontoon that’s reserved for the Sea Scouts for $20 a night. There’s no power or water like there is on the other pontoon (which already has an occupant) but we are here – right next to the city! We’re in the confluence of the Tamar and the North Esk Rivers.

296/365 • making dinner looking out at this - the best playground we’ve ever been to and silos that have been turned into a hotel. Last time we were here it was an industrial wasteland over there - someone got something right ✔️ •
View from the kitchen/galley window.

As we pull up (it’s fine) we can see that on the old industrial land opposite has been transformed on a large scale in the three years since we were here. There is a MASSIVE PLAYGROUND. “If you can just adjust all the fenders so they’re the right height,” says M, “I’ll do the rest.”

The Smalls are pleading to get on their scooters, pleading for me to come just a little way with them. Just a little bit further… and then we are going over a footbridge that has mysteriously appeared and we are at the park and the park? It’s AWESOME. Things are high and potentially dangerous. The slides are fast tubes of metal, there are mini trampolines embedded in the ground, a sky-walk, water features and swings over trench…

Bounce! Launceston Riverbend Park
BOING!

Small Z is rapturous. There are kids everywhere. Small DB is overwhelmed. “I’ll just stay with you,” she says to me. “I’ll look around and decide what I will go on when we come back on a school day and there’s no one else here.” Her sister is already scaling the climbing rope to the sky-walk and halfway down one of the tubular slides. We sweet-talk Small DB (“I’m too shy….”) into walking around a little with us and eventually convince her to go on one of the slides when, for some reason, there happens to be no one on it or nearby… She is reticent, and then elated.

Climbing. Launceston Riverbend Park
DB investigates…

We explore some more. Small Z is adopted by a girl her age named Taylor. Or Taylah. Or Tayla. Who attaches herself to Small Z and they go from climbing frame, to slide, to basket swing… Small DB sticks with me. Eventually Small Z gives me the signal and I saunter up to her and Taylor/Taylah/Tayla and say, “Sorry Zoe, we need to get back to the boat now, it’s getting near dinner time.”

Zoe rolls her eyes convincingly, makes her apologies and we wander off with her hissing, “I couldn’t GET AWAY.”

Halfway across the playground we stop still and die of cute. There is a caramel coloured puppy that looks like a small teddy bear. We drop to our knees and pat it until it can hardly stand upright as I quiz the owner; “What kind of dog is it? Where did you get it? Is it hard to train?”

I can feel my BoatCat midlife crisis rearing it’s evil furry head. First the Tathra bordoodle, and now this. We coo over the puppy, which I think is six months old and will not grow much bigger, until it becomes a bit ridiculous.

We walk past Taylor/Taylah/Tayla and say to her, “How CUTE is that dog!!?”
“Yeah, it’s cute. I had a dog once, but it ran away.”
We make appropriate noises, and Small DB says, “I’d like a cockatiel.”
Taylor/Taylah/Tayla nods, looking mournful.
“Yeah. I had a bird once. But it died.”

We say goodbye again.

M comes to find us, looking somewhat forlorn having been abandoned at the dock. We wander back toward the boat and stop for a celebratory drink – they have my favourite cider:

The best cider. Cheers, Launceston!
Thank you Willie Smith.

We drink to sailing journeys and exploring Launceston.

A post-icecream consult. DB and M. Launceston.
DB & M

Launceston. Back downriver.

Goodbye Launceston.

After a final trip to the supermarket and topping up the water and fuel, we said goodbye to Launceston – and, it has to be admitted, I felt a little relieved to be on our way again. We are still cruising novices and this had been our first ‘city’ experience.

It felt a little frenetic. It was expensive. We realised we need to plan our days a bit better – go food shopping once at the beginning and once more just before we leave. Aside from the museum, we didn’t really get on a bus to go anywhere, although we definitely pounded the pavements throughout the Launceston CBD.

We loved catching up with our old friends, and making new ones. We hope to continue making contact with homeschoolers and exploring and photographing, but also slowing down and being a little more organised on our outings… Baby steps…

Launceston: street art
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Launceston: All The Things

The first morning saw us go to the Harvest Market – a farmer’s market that we held great hopes for. They had fabulous food and we tried beef jerky, smoked haloumi and some fantastic kimchi. I had thought we would be able to buy a heap of vegies there, but most of the produce was out of our price range. We ended up with a few kilos of apples and spuds – and realised how easy it is to haemorrhage money when surrounded by tasty things….

I am learning (again) the necessity of being prepared when we leave the boat to go exploring. Snacks MUST be packed, because money is tight, and even if we were feeling frivolous, it’s usually VERY hard to find gluten free food (proper non-contaminated gluten free food). Which is why, when we walked into Pepys Cafe with two hungry Smalls and saw a 100% Gluten Free sign – there was much rejoicing…and more money-letting….

Samuel Pepys Cafe: Launceston

This was the first time on our journey that we have caught up with some far flung friends – such a joy! Christian (famous drummer of seminal late ’90s band, Bidston Moss ?) and Meegan (famous opera singer and – on occasion – Bidston Moss roadie) began living in Launceston again about seven years ago and we have only caught up VERY intermittently since then – although FB helps to keep our love alive 😉

Not only did they have us for dinner at Rancho Relaxo that has a stunning view of the river – they visited us with home-baked gluten free chocolate raspberry brownies (!!!), took away our bag of laundry and returned it – washed and folded. WHAT THE?! Their information about Launceston was stuff that only a local would know – we love you Meegan, Christian and your Smalls – we will see you soon! (We obv spent so much time catching up that zero photos were taken…)

I am loving the increased amount of walking in my life. While living at the boatyard it began to drive me mad that I couldn’t walk to anywhere – yes, I could walk around the property, but that grew old after a while. Arriving in different places and exploring everywhere on foot means that a LOT more walking is happening. (Even more walking happens when one gets lost and wanders dolefully for hours on end.)

Out of the shade and into the sun.

Tamar River - on the way to the gorge.

Our walk down the river to the Gorge was wonderful, once M and I managed to tune out the “my legs are tired” whines of Small DB. We had been told about the extent of the flooding four months before, but it was hard to believe that we were walking through areas that had been entirely underwater. The area around the tearooms and bandstand are a curious mix of English garden (think camellias, roses, decorative bushes) and eucalyptus – possibly evidence of homesick/hopeful Europeans…

Tearooms

225/365 • preening like a peacock •    #225_2016 #peacock #Spring2016 #bellalunaboat #Tasmania #discovertasmania #feathers #blues #greens #aquamarines

We met several peacocks that roam around – and went to enquire about the price of the chairlift (as this seems to be a mystery made more mysterious by signs saying ‘Ride Over – Pay On The Other Side’ still with no mention of what it actually cost). It cost $34 for one way or $40 return for all of us, the latter being the equivalent of two nights stay at the pontoon, so we did not ride. We marvelled at how many empty seats there were and how many more might be filled if they just made it flatrate $6 per person…

226/365 • someone left their brand new shoes on Deal Island - and now is wearing hot winter boots after stubbing her toe multiple times •   #226__2016 #6yo #bellalunaboat #shoes #tamarriver #feet #Spring2016 #coolingdown

It was a beautiful 20 degrees – Small DB (who appears to be becoming more heat intolerant with every passing year) whimpered about how hot she was, how hot her feet were, and spent some time dangling them in the water. She seemed to recover some energy when we did a bit of rock climbing…

Practicing for a career as a mountain goat.

We spent seven nights at the Home Point Pontoon, and the staff there are legendary. We used their shower a couple of times and that was a truly blissful experience! Hot water that doesn’t come from a pot heated up on the stove *fistpump*

Launceston Museum

The museum was excellent and contained a vintage caravan that I spent some time examining.

228/365 • my favourite bit of the Launceston museum (although there was fantastic interactive stuff throughout) was this caravan. Older than mine and plywood instead of fibreglass- it was build by a man to take his family camping in the 1930s ?

On Wednesday – a day of truly perfect weather – we spent the morning at the library and then joined a group of Launceston Home Schoolers and had lunch in City Park. We met some great people – and M was thoroughly schooled on Fishing In Tasmania by a ten-year-old boy called Max and his brother – and came away starry-eyed about jigging for squid.

Our time in Launceston was dogged by DB’s lack of footwear – we tried to buy her shoes in Target, CottonOn, KMart, Mountain Design, AllGoods – and tried on every pair of remotely appropriate shoes in each one. M, who could not believe we had spent so long in Target only to return with nothing, learned quickly when he accompanied us to Kmart that there are No Shoes that fit DB – anywhere.

On our second last day we found Anaconda – she tried every single pair of shoes they had – and we emerged victorious an hour after entering with her wearing…the first pair she had tried on. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! They were on half price sale for $50. Sigh.

I visited the Waverley Wool Mill’s shop and nearly lost my mind over their massive basket of offcuts. Actually, I did lose my mind – I was demolished by attempting to make a decision and bought NOTHING (DB bought an itsy bits you square of alpaca blanket for $1 – it’s a blanket for bunny).

Launceston. Letterbox in old building

The flowers, the gardens, the OLDNESS of the buildings thrilled me utterly. Unlike Melbourne, it appeared that more had been preserved than eradicated. This was a comfort. The following photo is, I think, part of the Launceston Gasworks – somewhere I’m sure my dad would have visited.

Launceston

Here’s a picture from the Wikipedia page

Very old photo of Launceston Gasworks

Gravelly Beach to Launceston

Although we have been sailing a fair bit on the Tamar River, the wind was so strong as we got closer to Launceston that we motored most of the way. Past swathes of farmland, new ticky-tacky houses, past pulp mills with mountains of native forest timber wood chips soaring up toward the clouds, past abandoned boat and shiny treasured vessels moored at the bottom of gardens…

Tamar River. Going under the Batman Bridge

The wind was icy and super strong. The Smalls were generally oblivious, preferring to stay inside. I have seen the looks on their faces, particularly Small Z, that I recognise from when I was little. When your parent enthuses at you about a swan on the river or a beautiful old house on a hill, and you can’t understand why they’ve dragged you away from your book/ipad/fighting with your sister to show you something they obviously hope will enthuse you too. I had that look in 1979 as my parents dragged me through what felt like endless series of chateaus in France marvelling at what seemed to me to be the most boring things possible.

222/365 • under sail, heading further up the Tamar River •    #222_2016 #8yo #6yo #bellalunaboat #Tasmania #tamarriver @tasmania #discovertasmania

The river narrows as it gets closer to the city. Some of the bends felt a bit dicey in the crazy wind, but M was in his element. Launceston is almost invisible until you’re actually in it! M had been worrying about since we had set out that morning – the wind was very strong. We found the Home Point pontoon and used the wind to drift toward it. We secured ourselves without incident and congratulated ourselves…only to discover that we had tied up to the Sea Scouts pontoon and needed to move over to the actual Home Point pontoon. Two tricky manoeuvres in one hour – done!

We are paying $24 a night for the pleasure of being able to walk into the city. We also have (HOLY GRAIL) power and water. This is true luxury, although paying to stay anywhere isn’t really supported by our budget. Thus, our time here is limited, but we intend to fill up our water and charge up our batteries – hopefully to the point where we no longer have to start the generator every time we need to start the stove (which is a bit more than normal when your hot water is dead).

Somehow, we manage, wherever we are, to make a beeline to the library. How we love a library. Launceston is no exception. The Smalls revel in a new library – the layout, the books, the wifi. M and I enjoy the wifi – and a little bit of down time. This picture is taken looking out through the library window:

Launceston

The first thing I noticed about Launceston are all the amazing old (as in 1800’s old – which is old for Australia) buildings – so many are abandoned, but have been build so solidly that they don’t look completely dilapidated, just unloved and so full of potential. I imagine rescuing one and having a huge, Huon pine floorboarded loft with glimpses of the river..